Title: Galaxy of Horrors

Also known as:
Little Terrors presents 'Galaxy of Horrors'

Year: 2016

Genre: Horror / Science Fiction

Language: English, German, Italian

Runtime: 105 min

Director: Various

Writer: Various

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6188002/

Plot:
Little Terrors is back with another collection of short films. This time, exploring the horrors of space and technology.

Our Thoughts:
For the second edition of the Little Terrors presents series, we are treated to a set of science-fiction related horror tales in “Galaxy of Horrors”. While “Minutes Past Midnight” was a collection of general genre fare, “Galaxy of Horrors” is more theme oriented. Much like the festival is at times. There is also a wraparound segment that was written and directed by the festival driector and DVD producer, Justin McConnell.

Even with a wraparound segment, “Galaxy of Horrors” still functions more as a compilation than anthology (in my opinion, at least). Even though I liked that they centralized the short films to a particular genre (especially with that genre being sci-fi) but this go around fell a bit shorter than its counterpart for me. Fortunately, because this is more of a collection than an anthology, it is not due to the films being limited by a singular concept — once again it is a set of filmmakers telling the stories that they want to tell.

I think I'm going to chalk up my lack of enjoyment with “Galaxy of Horrors” to personal taste and preferences. I'm far more picky when it comes to what science-fiction films I enjoy (in comparison to horror movies), even though I like everything from space monster-schlock to laser guns that go pew-pew-pew, as well as movies that are more social based. And to its credit, “Galaxy of Horrors” does offer a decent variety sub-genres.

Although there is a disappointing lack of laser guns that go pew-pew-pew, but I digress.

However, on the subject of social-based science-fiction stories; that has been my go-to sub-genre when it comes to modern sci-fi films as of late. In general, most science-fiction stories come from a socially reflective point, but for me, when I refer to social science-fiction, I am referring to films that are less technology focused and more conceptual. While technology can be involved, it is less about computers and more about people. For recent examples, films like “Embers” or “Worm”. And given its popularity, I guess I’m obligated to mention “Black Mirror” as well — a show that I told you people to watch back in 2012, but nobody wanted to listen to me because it wasn’t on goddamn Netflix then!

Needless and stupid rant aside...

There were two shorts in “Galaxy of Horrors” that were social-based and they ended up being the least interesting ones. There was “Eveless” — a short about a world without women and men trying to find a way to create life. The shortest segment in the set, and because of that, it felt too simple and superficial for what the concept was. Then there’s “Pathos” — a story in which people live in concrete apartments and work for credits in order to buy artificial happiness (dreams, more or less). Some what of a typical concept within science-fiction, but again, more of a superficial execution of the idea which aided in the short to come across as redundant.

Not far behind “Eveless” and “Pathos” is “Kingz” — a movie where would-be criminals have to fight off humans that are under alien control at a rave. Outside a few nice practical-effects, there was a lot that was left to be desired. It’s the usual alien invasion/replacement story with the usual result of typical modern low-budget action. Certainly it's passable but there's nothing there to really drive the interest or entertainment.

The film “Eden” had a similar problem in terms of typical concepts but it found a way to overcome that issue of familiarity. The segment is about people overthrowing a corrupt government when the planet becomes uninhabitable. Certainly a story that seems like that has been done a hundred times but Todd Cobery makes up for that fact by keep the action quick and brutal. Time isn’t wasted on pointless character exchanges; he keeps the action going with gun battles and a ravaging zombie-like monster but fills in the story beats in-between the bloodshed.

And while “Eden” at least kept the action going, it was still an average short film at best. The same can be said about “Entity” — a segment with little to discuss as it’s about an astronaut floating through space and eventually falls through a wormhole. A good segment one that thrives strictly on visuals but still needed a something more to feel substantial. Again, both films were good, but they just needed something a bit more to them.

Even though it seems like “Galaxy of Horrors” is leaning heavily on the average-to-bad scale for me, there were still three good segments in the collection. The first one that comes to mind is “Flesh Computer” by Ethan Shaftel. It was an enjoyable Cronenberg-esque film where a young man develops a bio-mechanical computer. The practical and computer effects are nicely done but the story itself and the point of the story is where it gets a little shaky. There’s an implied theme of a prejudicial future against androids but it’s hard to make sense of its relation to the main story of “rednecks” torturing the young man and abusing his creation. By that, I mean that you don't get the sense that they are torturing the young man because of his work but rather because he's there. It makes the plot seem incidental in regards to the world of the film. The story isn’t horrible but it doesn’t mesh well with what appeared to be an underlying theme. Regardless, it was still enjoyable and the bio-mechanical computer looked fantastic.

Then there’s “Iris” — a film where a contract killer heads out in the woods to dispose of his victim but is manipulated by the AI in his ultra-smart phone. Even though I enjoyed “Flesh Computer”, Richard Karpala’s segment is one where there was more of a solidified connection between the horror and science-fiction elements of the story. A fitting concept given the current cultural obsession with cell phones and the continual progression in that technology. As much as I hate to use the word, it was the perfect horror/sci-fi short because you have that connection between the two genres while drawing inspiration from the real world to tell an intense little story.

For me though, the best segment was Javier Chillon’s “They Will All Die In Space”. Like "Iris", this was a film that genuinely felt like a horror and science-fiction story. It's about an engineer traveling aboard a spaceship is awoken from his cryogenic sleep by two others to help repair the ship. As the days go on, he begins to suspect the reasoning as to why he was brought out of sleep and grows more suspicious of his fellow travelers. First, as a long time science-fiction fan, I cannot compliment this movie enough for the set designs. For a short film, the design of the interior ship was simply fantastic. However, the reason the segment became my favorite is because of the concise, compact story that effectively uses paranoia, isolation and desperation in creating tension. Moreover, the fact that it uses these pieces to create an idea of a repeating cycle of manipulation and decisions with grotesque consequences. That cyclical theme of perpetuating true-to-life horror made “They Will All Die In Space” immensely satisfying to watch. And goddamn, I can't compliment that set design enough.

Even though there were three solid segments in "Galaxy of Horrors", it is unfortunate that it fell a bit short for me after I had a great deal of fun with "Minutes Past Midnight". Again though, when it comes to anthologies and compilations such as these Little Terrors collections, you always run that risk because of the variety. It's still a worthwhile set to pick up since there are some good segments in it and it's always good to know who's out there making films, regardless of their length.


Positive things:
- Features an actual good wrap-around story.
- Even though there is a wrap-around story, this Little Terrors collection still felt like a compilation rather than an athology.
- The segments "Flesh Computer", "Iris" and "They Will All Die In Space" were good.
Negative things:
- For me, more than half of the segments were either bad or uninteresting.

Rating:
Gore: 1/5
Nudity: 0.5/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

We got this movie from:
Uncork'd Entertainment

It can be bought from:
Amazon.com

Reviewed by:
Preston




 

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